Star Trek Online – First Impressions Beta (part 2)

Well I sunk an additional three hours into the online beta last night and had an improved experience once I discovered a few more areas and received a few additional ‘looted’ items and visited some areas previously unexplored.

By the time I logged off, I had climbed to level 7 and with a few additional away-team and ship skirmishes under my belt, things began to get a bit smoother and fall into place a bit more.  So like yesterday’s post here is my findings:

  • “Memory Alpha” is not a completed area/zone yet, with many NPC’s standing ‘idle’ until game launch.  Here is were you can and will be able to turn in some of that space ‘loot’ for ship component upgrades.  I was still missing a few pieces to turn in for anything noteworthy, but now I understand the ‘recipe’ and ‘crafting’ component of the game a bit better.
  • Some additional missions afforded me some ingame rewards, and since I’ve found the mix so far to be more ship than ground based missions, I opted for the ship upgrades: 1) I found that any component that can increase your ships turn rate is beneficial.  Being able to rotate more quickly means being able to bare weapons more readily.  2) Proton mines are a better bet than an aft phaser.  3) Found a new wider-arced forward disrupter/phaser.  Even though DPS may be a bit less, a 90 degree firing arc is better than a more powerful 45 degree arced weapon.
  • Visited my bridge again just to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and still can’t figure out what to do with it. (Edit: Went to the forum and looked up ‘bridge’, and most comments and threads were of a similar nature, like basically “WTF do we do with this?”.  That’s a bit disapointing and one can only help but pray that the Dev’s have something up their sleeve further down the line, perhaps in an expansion, or a piece of the game that they are working on, because right now, it’s worthless.
  • Unlocked another bridge officer slot and was rewarded in mission with a new officer of my choice.  Still a bit difficult to understand certain advantages of each race, class, etc. without a manual.
  • Missions were a bit more varied and last night I think the mix improved just a tad to 75% space missions and 25% ground missions.
  • Ground missions are interesting, but away team A.I. and formation can be a bit annoying.  It’s a tad of mass confusion when you away team counterparts are all doing their same thing.  This seems like a hold over concept from City of Villains, and I can tell you CoV does it better so far.
  • I sure hope that ground mission backdrops and tile sets become a bit more varied.  I already have encountered the same ‘props’ at diffrent ground locals.
  • Ground mission animations seem a bit ‘off’.  I’m sure this will get refined later on, but it looks a little odd right now and not 100% that collision detection is spot on.
  • Random space encounters are a bit annoying.  You stop on the overall galaxy map to get your bearing, check out where the next mission is and requirements, and then suddenly the screen is ‘loading’ for a random encounter.  And these usually don’t bode well for the single player.  This has happened to me at least three times now, and each time, the odds are overwhelming against me.  I’m slaughtered within seconds.

Taking this all into account and once again reminding myself this is a ‘Beta’, I’m struggling if I want to play or not.  It was very hard for me to let go of CoH (as a matter of fact I looked at it last night to see two new expansions have been released, but not sure they are enough to get me back in.  It’s hard to let go of a character that I spent so many hours investing in and building up, but towards the end of the game, many of the missions just felt very repetitive, and thus I hadn’t played the game in over six months….and I’m not sure I missed it.)

STO is a fun game and I’d lean to playing it if I hadn’t done the whole CoH thing before.  I hope there are going to be some additional content, variety, exploartion, etc. in the developers future.  As of right now, someone on the boards said it doesn’t feel like Start Trek as we expect it to, but a space naval battle simulator, and I think I agree.  If it were just that, I’d give the game a thumbs up, but once you tack on the Star Trek franchise, your expectations automatically go up and you expect more of that experience, and I’m just not sure you get it.

Last night when I was done, I really began to think if I could get my money back and/or do I want to pay a monthly subscription fee.  I kept thinking that Star Wars: The Old Republic is still over a year away and it was just announced there may be a Fallout MMO under development for beta by the end of the year.  I may play on a trial basis for at least 2-3 months and hope that the dev’s are cooking up some more depth, if not, then my tenure as a Federation Starship Captain may be short.

Podcast?

Kablam Comix is a both a love/hate blog for me.  When I first started it some time back, I was really hoping to be vigilant at it and have, if not daily, frequent updates in discussing the things I really enjoy: comic books, science fiction movie and television, geeky conventions, pro-wrestling, and of course gaming. 

I didn’t want to be the next ‘Around Comics’, ‘Endgadget’, ‘Dark Horizons’ or ‘The Escapist’.  I just wanted it to be casual, something akin to “Hey, I just read the lasted issue of Green Lantern and while I don’t follow the title religiously, I do like the ‘Blackest Night’ story arc event, what do you think about it?”  You know, just a place for a few fun reviews and random thoughts on such nerdy topics.

However, with my recent work schedule, prioritizing family time, and other obligations it seems that the hobbies I love so much began taking a back seat to what I really wanted to accomplish here.  A few days led to a few weeks which in turn led to a few months, and as you can see by this post date, it’s been a while since I’ve been here. 

And that saddens me.

Not in the way like I fell down and skinned my knee and whimpered, but in the way that I get really excited about all this stuff but never seem to find the time to write.  And then when I do have the time to write, then the problem is what to write about.  Not due to lack of content or ideas, but just the opposite; there is so much, I then can’t decide what to weed out and concentrate on.  The whole time this blog has been on my mind.  Believe me, it never left, it’s just been tucked away in the recesses of my head, perkalating to get back out.

Then the thought hit me: Podcasting.

I have the equipment to do a podcast, I think I have the ability to talk about all this stuff content wise, it’s just a matter of me sitting down and finding a freebie hosting site that is more or less plug-n-play for me to rattle off the occasional show and upload it.  With that being said, of course I still plan on doing written entries (where time allows it), they just may be slightly smaller in scope, but also attempting to do an unscripted variety podcast and see where that takes me.  Say an episode that may talk about the X-man, new Xbox games I’m playing, recent Netflix movies I’ve watched, and some gadget I read an article about all in the span of 20 minutes or so.  They may be shorter, they may be longer.  I guess the only way to know is to just ‘go for it’, so hopefully in the next few weeks, (at least that is my bold plan right this second), I will try to find a hosting service like ‘Podbean’, ‘Libsyn’ or ‘BluBrry’ to carry a few direct links and see how that goes or grows. 

If you like it, let me know.  If you don’t, tell me what to change.  Either way, I hope to get a little more mileage out this starting soon.

Brief Comic Updates.

I’ve really been behind my comic book reading as of late, (anywhere from 2-4 weeks per book title), but as a brief highlight I can give you my take in the following highlights:

  • Darkest Night cross overs happening with the Green Lantern family of books over at DC is much better than Final Crisis and Countdown combined.  Awesome artwork and a really grand and episodic format that weaves amongst all the books makes this the best thing DC has put out in a while.
  • What the hell is happening with Teen Titans?  Ever since Superboy died mid Identity crisis this book just can’t seem to find it’s footing or traction.  I’m giving up.  Too many roster changes and silly arcs to keep me going.
  • Same with Batman and the Outsiders….it just seems stalled….giving up for now.
  • Secret Six…A ‘B’ book which can easily be considered one of the better B books DC is putting out.  A lot of good stories, twisted and bizarre and good character development…of course courtesy of Gail Simone.
  • X-Force and Messiah War crossover – So far very good.  Artwork on X-Force shines, and nice solid story.  Too bad X-Men Legacy and Uncanny are suffering right now.
  • All Avengers books and Dark Reign ties in are really good.  I’m liking this better than Civil War.  Norman’s Dark Avengers is a fun read. 
  • Dare Devil always seems fresh, even though Kingpin is back yet again.
  • G.I. Joe from IDW…’meh’.  The origin one-shots and Cobra mini series is better than the core title.  The idea of Destro with little bots infiltrating the PITT for the first three episodes seems too campy and drawn out.  Where’s Cobra Commander already?

G4 to cut back on AOTS and X-Play

Ex-Play?

Ex-Play?

It’s yet another sad bit of news for techies, gamers, and closet geeks like myself alike.

It has been confirmed by the parent company who produces the gamer and techie centric shows over at the G4 network, that both Attack of the Show (AOTS) and X-Play will be restructered yet again, and not for the better.

It wasn’t too long ago it was announced that X-Play was going to double show length, and now it appears the exact opposite will be happening.  X-Play hosting and production staff has been cut, and new weekly episodes will be reduced from five to three.

It isn’t much better over at AOTS either.  Beginning March 2nd, original episodes will also be reduced from five to just four a week.

And since fewer shows will be shot on a weekly basis, G4 did indeed confirm a decrease in staff, but also says that savings resulting from these changes will go directly towards more original programming in 2009.  While G4 claims this is not a budget cut and they remain loyal and dedicated to these core franchises, I beg to differ.

I have personally noticed that X-Play repeats have already been scaled back on a daily basis only to be replaced with other non-gaming and non-tech shows.  If I ever missed an episode of X-Play at 8pm, I could always catch the repeat later in the evening or TiVo it in the wee hours of the morning to enjoy the next day.

All I see now is yet more episodes of Cheaters, Cops, and infomercials….like we need any more of these because they play on about 10 other channels throughout the week or Gremlins hasn’t already been shown 10 times this week.

Remind me again G4 how ‘Cheaters’ fits into Tech/Gaming TV?

It’s really a sad commentary when the only bastion of technically inclined television (and gaming for that matter( can’t even support it’s core demographic any longer, to where there pretty much is no other options left any more.

Enterprise – Revealed

New Enterprise

New Enterprise

Entertainment Weekly magazine has issued a photo of the newly visualized iconic starship Enterprise, from J.J. Abrams upcoming reboot of Star Trekcoming May 8, 2009.

Abrams wanted to take the original TV-series Enterprise and the movie franchise Enterprise and fuse them together into a new yet familiar Enterprise.  His ambition was a ship that felt very realistic, that could stand up to today’s F/X standards — and beyond.  “if you’re going to do Star Trek, there are many things you cannot change.  The Enterprise is a visual touchstone for so many people.  So if you’re going to do the Enterprise, it better look like the Enterprise, because otherwise, what are you doing?”